Older Valentino shows its alpaca master class
Canterbury breeders Chris and Liz Strack were bracing themselves for a quiet year until their prized alpaca sire Stoneleigh Valentino won the supreme champion national fleece award at the Alpaca Association National Show in Christchurch.
This is on top of Valentino's unrivalled fourth national supreme champion title for its breed last year, a feat which the couple believe is unmatched in the world.
Valentino is a six-year-old white male huacaya alpaca and its fleece beat the field at the show last weekend. The male has now won national supreme champion titles five times in total, four times for the huacaya breed and once for its fleece.
The Stracks, who bred and own Valentino, had planned to leave it at home this year, however, a new veteran class for the breed at the show encouraged them to enter the alpaca.
Valentino had previously won its age group championship for its breed every year at the national show; as a junior in 2010, intermediate in 2011, adult and senior in 2013 and 2014 and as the mature champion last year. They felt it would be a shame if Valentino didn't have the opportunity to compete in the new veteran class.
That was rewarded by Valentino winning the champion veteran male in addition to the supreme fleece title.
"We won both the supreme fleece and supreme animal which we were rather chuffed about as we thought we would have a quite year," said Chris Strack.
After winning the veteran class Valentino lined up against the other champions for the national supreme championship and among them was its half brother, Stoneleigh Odysseus, the show's senior male champion, and other alpacas one third of its age.
Australian judge Natasha Clark of Australia ended up singling out Valentino and Odysseus before finally choosing Odysseus as the national supreme champion for the huacaya breed.
Strack said they were thrilled that Odysseus, an animal of their breeding, had finally wrestled the national supreme champion title in breed from Valentino this year.
Valentino's daughter, two-year-old Florabella, also won the intermediate female champion title.
The Stracks' Stoneleigh Alpaca Stud has 12 top class breeding females among a herd of about 70 alpacas. Valentino's dam had previously won national senior champion female and mature champion female titles and its sire Bellisimo was an Australian supreme champion.